Jeff Bezos’ space travel, more than space tourism

    Since Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has officially stepped down from being the chief executive officer of his multi-billion dollar company on 05 July 2020, exactly 27 years after it was founded, the former CEO has space in his mind.

    WASHINGTON — Space travel is the former Amazon CEO’s next immediate pursuit. It is scheduled to be part of the crew of Blue Origin’s suborbital New Shepard rocket launching this 20 July.

    The rocket is set to launch in the Launch Site One facility in Van Horn, Texas. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently approved the Blue Origin license to carry humans aboard the New Shepard rocket into space. Before approval, Blue Origin had to perform a test flight to check if both hardware and software worked safely and abided by regulatory requirements.

    The New Shepard’s flight is intended to push towards the edge of space, 60 miles above earth, taking an astounding 11-minutes of flight time. This 59-foot rocket is only the first of many Blue Origin projects geared towards space tourism.

    New Shepard will be the second manned rocket to be launched this month, the first being the Virgin Galactic’s Unity, manned by Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson, and his crew.

    Bezos has called Blue Origin “the most important work I’m doing”. Later on, he adds, “I’ve been studying it and thinking about it (space) since I was a five year old boy; but that is not why I’m pursuing this work.

    “I’m pursuing this work because I believe if we don’t, we will eventually end up with a civilization of stasis, which I find very demoralizing.”

    Andy Jassy, the new Amazon CEO is Bezos’ personal handpick and long-time coworker, who has been the head of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) since its founding back in 2003.

    Amazon announced the decision in February 2021, which stated that Bezos was inclined to spend more time with his other ventures, particularly: the Washington Post, Blue Origin, and general philanthropic activity.

    Bezos, however, keeps an executive chair in the company. Despite taking a step back, he will still have a huge influence on Amazon, as he is still its largest shareholder, apart from him being the head of the board and Jassy’s mentor.

    From electronic books, and now having ventured into internet infrastructures, and providing checkout-free convenience stores, Bezos has managed to steer the company into big and booming waters.

    Bezos’ achievements did not come without criticism. His accumulated wealth (being the world’s richest man) topped off with Amazon’s dehumanizing labor are often topics of interest, not to mention the many talks among US lawmakers for regulating Amazon as a whole, ranging from workforce regulations right down to data usage.

    Amazon has to venture into these storms without Bezos at the helm, which makes both supporters and critics wonder what’s in store for the leading tech giant. (RF/The MiNT)

    Featured image: First seat in the New Shepard space craft. /Credit: Blue Origin


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